St. Paul talks about the Christian life as a race, and encourages us to run so as to win. So it's not just OK, it's commanded to be competitive, to strive to excel. But true greatness consists in sharing in the sacrificial love of Christ, who comes to serve rather than to be served. That means that this race St. Paul is talking about is a race to the bottom. — from 40 Days, 40 Ways
Jacoba, the Roman noblewoman, was a young widow when she heard of the holy man, Francis of Assisi. Desiring to meet the penitent in order to seek his spiritual advice, she got her wish when Francis and his small band came to Rome to obtain papal approval of the Franciscan Rule of life.
Jacoba was so moved by the sermons and talks that Francis gave that she joined the Franciscan Third Order, turned the administration of her possessions over to her two sons and spent the rest of her life in the practice of good works. She furnished a house for the friars in Rome and provided for their needs, acting as a mother to the sick friars.
When Francis neared the time of his death, he sent for her as he had promised, writing to his beloved sister in Christ: "If you wish to find me still alive, make haste so that you will be at St. Mary of the Angels by next Sunday. Bring with you some ash-gray cloth to be used as a shroud for my body, and wax candles for my burial."
But Jacoba and her two sons had already left Rome with the necessary items, having been summoned by a voice that spoke to her while she was in prayer. During the final four days of Francis' life she remained at St. Mary of the Angels ministering to him. With tears she helped the friars to arrange his funeral. Francis was buried in her shroud.
Jacoba returned to Rome to put her affairs in order and then went back to Assisi, where she spent the remaining days of her life watching and praying at the tomb of her spiritual father. She is buried in the church near St. Francis.
Many modern women complain about exclusive language when the Scriptures address them as "brothers." Jacoba had no such complaint when Francis dubbed her Fra [Brother] Jacoba, for she knew he meant it to express her inclusion among the friars to whom she ministered so generously and lovingly. Words often fail to convey reality adequately enough to suit us, but one thing is sure: God's love, like Francis', is always inclusive, embracing each and every one of us.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. (Gerard Manley Hopkins) I dwell for a moment on the Presence of God around me, in every part of my body, and deep within my being.
By God's grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended, with complete confidence in Your Loving care.
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings. Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.
The Word of God
Reading 1 1 Kgs 8:1-7, 9-13
The elders of Israel and all the leaders of the tribes, the princes in the ancestral houses of the children of Israel, came to King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD's covenant from the City of David, which is Zion. All the people of Israel assembled before King Solomon during the festival in the month of Ethanim (the seventh month). When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark; they carried the ark of the LORD and the meeting tent with all the sacred vessels that were in the tent. (The priests and Levites carried them.)
King Solomon and the entire community of Israel present for the occasion sacrificed before the ark sheep and oxen too many to number or count. The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place beneath the wings of the cherubim in the sanctuary, the holy of holies of the temple. The cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the ark, sheltering the ark and its poles from above. There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets which Moses had put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel at their departure from the land of Egypt.
When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the LORD's glory had filled the temple of the LORD. Then Solomon said, "The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud; I have truly built you a princely house, a dwelling where you may abide forever."
Responsorial Psalm PS 132:6-7, 8-10
R. (8a) Lord, go up to the place of your rest!
Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah; we found it in the fields of Jaar. Let us enter into his dwelling, let us worship at his footstool.
R. Lord, go up to the place of your rest!
Advance, O LORD, to your resting place, you and the ark of your majesty. May your priests be clothed with justice; let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy. For the sake of David your servant, reject not the plea of your anointed.
R. Lord, go up to the place of your rest!
Alleluia See Mt 4:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 6:53-56
After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Lord Jesus, I would not like to be thought of as a 'user' – someone who in a selfish way exploits family, friends, church or even God. If I feel I am being used, I resent it.
But in this scene you are being used to the point of exhaustion, and you react as you urged us to react, without a trace of resentment: 'The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve'.
Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
The Lord's glory had filled the temple. (1 Kings 8:11)
If you were to walk into an old church on a weekday, you might see something unusual and beautiful: a few men and women silently, gently dusting down pews and setting hymnals aright. Some may even be on their hands and knees, carefully cleaning the floor! All of this work happens week after week, out of reverence for the place where Mass is celebrated and God's people gather. It's quite an act of love!
In today's first reading, we see another scene of reverence and love: Temple worship. "All the people of Israel" have gathered, as well as King Solomon (1 Kings 8:2). The sacrifices before the ark of the Lord are rich and full—"sheep and oxen too many to number"—all out of love and gratitude for the God who had saved them and protected them (8:5).
Now consider yet a third sacred space: you! You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Unlike the scene in today's reading, you don't need to offer great sacrifices. All you have to do is come before God as you are. Invite him to help you examine your conscience, and then let him clean and polish you. Know that he will exercise even more thoughtful care, gentleness, and love with you than those devoted parishioners did with their church.
You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. You are a sacred space in which God dwells! Much more precious and beautiful than a church with marble floors, and more so even than the Temple in today's first reading, you are glorious because you are made in his own image and likeness.
How does the knowledge that you are a precious dwelling place for God compel and inspire you? Perhaps it can change the way you look at yourself. Or perhaps it changes the way you look at your the people around you. Just as you are, you are a light to the world. As a flame of a candle draws the eye, you radiate as well. Even without trying hard to say or do the right things, you show the world what it's like to have Jesus in your heart.
So today, try to remain aware of God's presence within you. Just rest in him, and let his light shine out.
"Lord, thank you for making me your temple. Help me to shine your light into any darkness I encounter today."
Psalm 132:6-10 Mark 6:53-56
From today's first scripture: "I have truly built you a princely house, a dwelling where you may abide forever". King Solomon worked hard at building a nice temple for the Lord, perhaps a place he believed worthy for the Lord. The Lord accepted and entered, but a hard lesson was soon to come; King Solomon left the Lord at the temple as he carried on his life with 1,000 other loves...lovers. The Lord simply goes as far as we let Him into our lives, our hearts...our temple.
Lord go up to the place of your rest. And the Lord goes up to the cross. Why? After serving day and night, why would He still go to the point of the cross, the point of true Sacrifice? So that maybe we would make our heart His temple? Prepare our temple so that He may live there!
Today, the Lord enters the lives of countless poor people. His treasure, that's who they are. How do you treat the poor people? Those less fortunate than you, those in need spiritually? Do they come to you for prayers? Why? Or why not? And they flocked to Him and they came out healed, even touching His tassel, and "...as many as touched it were healed" He went to a place of great faith. Forget Solomon's temple. He, the Lord, went in the dark cloud, that where not even the priests could enter...the heart of the people of God. And where was everyone when the Lord was being taken up to the cross? Where were all the healed people now? It's the question of your own life. How do you live out your appreciation? Your gratitude? Your holiness? Do you look away after the miracle of the Lord? Do you turn away from Him after having put Him away like King Solomon eventually does?
You see, the Lord is ready, right here and now, in the forever now. Cherish the Lord in the poor, perhaps they will see the Lord if you see the Lord in them. And this Lord knows how to give....